The Evolution of Hip-Hop

The Evolution of Hip-Hop

This essay was written for the Expository Writing program class “Poets 2 Rockstars.” It was published in Brainstorm vol. VIII (2016). Brainstorm is the University of Oklahoma Expository Writing Program’s journal of student writing.  All Expo students are invited to submit an essay from their Expository Writing class for possible inclusion in Brainstorm.  At the end of each term, a selection committee will choose 3-5 of these submissions and invite the authors to revise their essays for publication.

Hip-hop, as a cultural force, has grown to mirror the culture it lives in and represents a narrative that had never been represented before in America. Rap, one of the five elements of hip-hop culture defined by Afrika Bambaataa (Aubry) that involves rhyming over a beat, has been highly controversial. One subgenre of rap known as “gangsta” rap still comes under fire today for its hyper-masculine lyrics involving violence, drugs, alcohol, money, and misogyny. The epitome of the “gangsta” rapper was Tupac Shakur (1971–1996), whose poignant and authentic portrayal of life on the streets in the Bronx and Brooklyn earned him unprecedented fame and whose scandalous personal life led to quite a bit of controversy. Tupac’s take on “gangsta” rap defined the hip-hop music industry and popularized the genre with American audiences. Tupac’s music expressed “realness,” an idea prevalent within hip-hop that artists must stay authentic and “true to oneself” (Williams 4). Tupac’s music was also special in the way that audiences could identify with it, especially those who grew up in similarly low-status conditions. This group of listeners, though, was very focused in comparison with the wider audience of hip-hop listeners from all races and backgrounds. Tupac had listeners who enjoyed and sympathized with his music and lyrics, yet they never lived in situations from which they could directly relate to his lived experience. Recently, hip-hop’s sound has been evolving and changing to reflect a different attitude in America. The idea of authenticity plays a large role for hip-hop fans, and, as times have begun to change, the idea of “realness” has been challenged. What constitutes authentic hip-hop, and what does this portrayal mean in terms of hip-hop’s cultural force? The answer lies within the audience—as listeners recognize authenticity, we define the impact that hip-hop artists make and the influence they have on the genre.

Transgenic Mice Over-Expressing RBP4 Have RBP4-Dependent and Light-Independent Retinal Degeneration

Transgenic Mice Over-Expressing RBP4 Have RBP4-Dependent and Light-Independent Retinal Degeneration

This article was originally published in Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science: Leading clinical and laboratory ophthalmic and vision research Vol. 58 Issue 10, an Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO) journal in August 2017.

Quantitative Histological Analyses of Retinal Thickness and Immunohistochemistry

A flamed needle was used to scorch the superior side of the cornea to demarcate the vertical meridian, and eyes were enucleated with part of the optic nerve still attached. Eyes were fixed in 4% paraformaldehyde for 24-hours, subsequently transferred into PBS, then dehydrated and paraffin-embedded for sectioning along the superior-inferior retinal axis. Sections were deparaffinized, stained with hematoxylin and eosin, and images were scanned at 403 magnification on a Ventana Coreo Au Slide Scanner (Tissue Sciences Facility, University of Nebraska Medical Center). Scanned images underwent quantitative analysis using Ventana image viewer software (Ventana Medical Systems, Inc., Tucson, AZ, USA). Beginning at the optic nerve head and extending into the retinal periphery in 250-lm increments, thickness of the total retina was measured.

Histological analysis of the differences in retinal thickness of mice with pharmacologically reduced serum RBP4 levels. Retinal degeneration was found to be prevented, but loss of retinal function remained.
Histological analysis of the differences in retinal thickness of mice reared in different light conditions. Retinal degeneration was found to be light-independent.